Peter Wilby need not despair. The new national curriculum for key stage 4 science - on which all science GCSEs will be based from September 2006 - addresses exactly the issues that he calls for.
Here is a sample from the section on How Science Works: "Pupils should be taught how and why decisions about science and technology are made, including those that raise ethical issues, and about the social, economic and technological effects of such decisions."
This should give teachers plenty of scope for discussing the issues, such as global warming and nuclear power, that will be important in young people's lives.
This new kind of teaching calls for professional development for teachers - and for exam bodies to set imaginative questions.
Professor John Holman Director National Science Learning Centre University of York